City Police Accuse Officer In Double-Billing Scheme
Robles Also A State Representative
By JENNA CARLESSO and STEVEN GOODE
August 12, 2010
HARTFORD — — Concluding a nearly yearlong investigation into one of its own, the Hartford Police Department has accused Officer Hector Robles of running a double-billing scheme, saying Robles fabricated documents to give the appearance that he was on duty while working private jobs.
"Officer Robles constantly for over a one-year period is shown to have been working private duty jobs while still getting paid for his regular assignment," an internal affairs report released Thursday states. "He intentionally gave false work times to his supervisor and wrote false times himself on his weekly time card. Also, he disregarded HPD policies that were known to him."
Robles, who is also a Democratic state representative for the 6th District in south Hartford, has been charged with conduct unbecoming an employee, knowingly or willfully making a false entry in any department record, intentional absence from duty without authorization and intentional failure to comply with lawful orders, procedures, directives or regulations, oral or written. Robles is not being charged with crimes, but with violating the Hartford Police Code of Conduct.
At least one of his charges carries the possibility of termination.
Hartford Police Chief Daryl K. Roberts last September ordered the department's internal affairs division to investigate alleged improper documentation in Robles' weekly time cards and the conflict between Robles' regular work schedule, private duty jobs and overtime hours. Robles was employed on private duty road construction jobs in addition to his police work.
The investigation stemmed from a police captain's review of the Hartbeat dispatch log system, which records officers' activities during their shifts.
"It became apparent during this review that Officer Robles was not placing himself on-line with the Hartford Police Dispatch Center during his shifts and that his activities during the shifts that he was signed on failed to reflect his response to calls for service or self initiated activities," the report states.
Robles said Thursday that he had not yet seen the report. He said he has no plans at this point to resign from the police department.
"I'll have to check with my union," he said. Subsequent phone calls to Robles were not returned.
Robles, who works the overnight shift, makes a base salary of about $49,000 a year.
Roberts said he considers the charges against Robles to be very serious.
"We are accountable to the public," he said.
Roberts declined to comment on Robles' future with the department.
"He's entitled to a fair hearing," he said. If Robles decides to go forward with a disciplinary hearing, it would be scheduled for Sept. 20, the internal affairs report states.
The report detailed numerous occasions in which Robles wrote on his time card that he was working a regular shift when in fact he was working a private job, collecting an identical amount to his hourly pay.
According to the report, on a date that Robles was working private road jobs for Connecticut Natural Gas, he submitted time cards indicating he worked a regular shift. During those 14 hours he was paid $410 by the department and $410 by CNG.
In June 2009, Robles worked a private road job for the Metropolitan District Commission and indicated on his time card that he was working a regular shift at the same time. The MDC and the department each paid Robles about $205.
During some occasions that Robles said he worked his regular police assignment, he was working private jobs for the Flow Assessment Construction Co., the report states. The department and Flow Assessment each paid him $380.
For other instances that Robles submitted time cards indicating he worked his regular shift, Robles was in fact working at a private job for the Seaboard Drilling Assessment Construction Co., according to the report. For a nine-hour period, Robles was paid $321 by the department and $321 by the construction company.
In total, Robles cheated the department out of about 360 hours of work for a total of $9,223.56 between Aug. 1, 2008, and Oct. 10, 2009, according to the report.
Robles was interviewed by investigators in June. When asked if he gave Lt. Edwin Dailey, his supervisor, accurate records, Robles answered "no," the report states.
When investigators suggested that he was "double-dipping," or taking from both sides, Robles responded "uh-huh." He also nodded his head in agreement when investigators said that the overlapping of hours amounted to larceny, according to the report.
The Hartbeat system indicated that of the 285 days during the period of time Robles was scheduled to work, there were only 59 days on which he logged into the system — meaning he was in contact with the department while working his beat.
The investigation also found that Dailey failed to actively supervise Robles or ensure that he complied with departmental directives. Dailey was charged with failure to properly supervise subordinates, making negligent entries into any department record and intentional failure to comply with lawful orders, procedures, directives or regulations.
A source within the police department said that Robles was also disciplined recently for working as a legislator at the Capitol while he was thought to be on duty.
Robles won his party's nomination in the primary election Tuesday, defeating Hartford resident and activist Alyssa Peterson by a 2-1 ratio.
"I'm very upset that voters didn't have knowledge of this before the election," Peterson said Thursday.
Robles, a freshman legislator, also was unanimously endorsed by Democrats at their nominating convention in May.
"I'm beside myself," said Janet Appellof, a spokeswoman for the Hartford Democratic Town Committee's 6th District. "We're going to call the Democratic State Central Committee to find out how to proceed from here."
Members of that district held a special meeting in July after word of a pending internal investigation into Robles spread. Appellof said Robles attended the meeting, but did not discuss details of the probe.
"He kept saying it was administrative" rather than criminal, she said. "We gave him the opportunity to speak and he chose not to."
Allison Dodge, executive director of the Democratic State Central Committee, said Thursday that while it was too early to tell if there would be anything for the party to act on, it has no policies or rules in place that would require taking action.
Richard Rodriguez, president of the Hartford Police Union, declined to comment. The union endorsed Robles — who is a member — before the primaries.
"I have not been able to review the investigation, so I cannot comment," Rodriguez said.
Calls to Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra were not immediately returned Thursday.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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